The second helping of a new standalone Star Wars Story is finally here. And was it worth the screen time? The answer may really sit with what viewing perspective you have, before you even take a seat in the cinema.
Does it have a place in the Star Wars universe amongst the Empire and the lightsaber wielding Jedi? Does it do Harrison Ford’s famous grumbling hero justice? Or is it just there to take advantage of your wallet?
The film does well being its own with only a couple of mentions of the bigger conflict in the Star Wars canon while creating its own identity. Being a more grounded and gritty world, as we follow a young misfit with a hunger to achieve more than he should handle. Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) embodies the character well, that you can easily see Ford in these scenes saying exactly the same thing.
The film starts with a chase down the laneways of a factory planet that builds the Empire’s war ships. After a run in with a criminal syndicate, Solo needs to get off the planet with runaway slave, Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones). But they seperate before Solo goes off on his destiny to become the best pilot in the galaxy. Unfortunately Alden and Emilia scenes feel flat that you don’t really care that much between the two.
Along his journey, we get to witness the pact he makes with Chewbacca, his most loyal and trusted companion. Each learning and growing upon each other that you really appreciate the friendship. Their banter and the scenarios they get into are the best scenes, as you empathise with them. Especially when things go south.
The action is plenty and hits all the right beats from crazy manoeuvres with the Millennium Falcon as he pulls off the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs to an interesting train heist in amongst the snowy mountains.
Woody Harrelson makes an impression too as Beckett, leader of a group of bandits. He acts as a mentor and friend to Solo as they go through the film, although we don’t get to know barely anything about him or his crew with Val (Thandie Newton) and Rio (Jon Favreau).
And to round out the cast is Donal Glover (Community) as Lando, pilot of the millennium falcon, and Paul Bettany (Avengers: Infinity War) the villain of the show as he wants what Beckett and Solo get off the train heist.
He’s not in the film much but gives a reasonable performance to believe he isn’t messing around. While Glover plays second fiddle to Chewbacca as Lando. The encounters Solo has with him is always fun as they try to match each other’s egos.
For a film that has had a lot of bad publicity, the film has done alright considering director Ron Howard (Angels and Demons) had to reshoot 90% of what the original directors had. Still with the time he had, Ron assembles a fun film with a lot to give and plenty of material left over for a definite sequel.
What was lacking was some of the scenes that were either predictable or just lazy writing as some escape scenes looked just too easy or confrontations that turned out just as you would’ve thought.
The film score by John Powell (Jason Bourne) isn’t that memorable but does bring heart into it when there are moments between Chewy and Solo or when Han is taking control of the Falcon for the first time.
Overall a satisfying film with a lot of great action scenes and character moments between Chewy, Solo and Lando. I highly recommend it if you’re after something to watch on the weekend. Especially if you’re a fan of everything Star Wars, this film delivers a wish come true to one of the popular fan theories that’s been going as long as this franchise has been.